One problem with a chronogaming blog of this kind is that a good number of the games will be bad. I’m in this slog right now of 5 terrible games in a row — as far as I can tell there are no other stretches like this in the library, thankfully. But it has gotten me thinking again about how to approach bad or average/tedious games. This blog is primarily about fun for me. I do gain satisfaction from completing even bad games if it’s in a structured approach like this, but that only goes so far.
Of course it would be nice to play every game on a real system with no walkthroughs, but I don’t want the blog to stagnate because the game I’m playing is so tedious/boring/bad that I can barely bring myself to play it. On the other hand, if you do have walkthroughs and emulator speedup keys/etc, it’s easy to dip into that well far too quickly.
It raises the question of whether it’s better to play the game honestly and quit if it sucks, or if it’s better to use save states, emulator speedup, walkthroughs, etc to at least get some of the experience and document the game.
So I think this is how I’m going to do things from here on out.
For the first week I play any game, I will play it on the nSide emulator (a fork of higan) and without using the speedup key or any other emulator features. I also will not use walkthroughs with the exception of basic explanations (what the buttons do, what the effect of spells and items are), or if I am seriously stuck and cannot progress. If this means I make slow progress because the game sucks, so be it. [My reason for using bsnes is the accuracy; I already ran into a bug in snes9x where Light Fantasy wouldn’t save games at all.]
After the first week, if the game is bad or tedious enough that I would normally stop playing, I will begin to make use of the speedup key and limited walkthrough use, and possibly using snes9x to get even faster speedup (this is what I’m doing with Fist of the North Star right now). In extreme cases I may even use cheat codes or save state abuse.
My justification for doing this instead of just quitting a game is this: judging from comments I’ve seen on CRPG Addict (and a few on my blog), one of the purposes of a project like this is documenting games that have very little information on them in English. A good example of this is Fist of the North Star 5 — the only information that I know of on this game is the walkthrough on gamefaqs which gives very little detail, but given that Fist of the North Star is a well known series even in the West, I figure it’s worth it to struggle through the game using as many emulator tricks as I can just to have the experience documented somewhere in English.
This also explains why I was willing to abandon Dragon Ball Z after one post. The game wasn’t all that good (to me), especially not being a DBZ fan. I was going to have to start the game from the beginning. Since there’s already a full fan translation patch for the game and multiple walkthroughs on GameFAQs, interested people can experience the game themselves.
PS: My controller is a PS2 controller hooked up through an annoying conversion cable to USB. Any suggestions for a better one? It has to have a good D-pad and have two R and L buttons (so that I can map one to screenshot and the other to speedup).
PPS: The computer I’m using is an Acer Spin 3, which can easily run nSide at 60 fps and can get between 100-120 fps on speedup.